Gary Stockbridge honored with Marvel Cup
WILMINGTON — Gary Stockbridge has been a guiding light in the Delaware business community for more than 40 years before he retired from Delmarva Power. Even years after he retired, his impact on the First State is still felt — so much that he was named the recipient of the Josiah Marvel Cup.
Stockbridge was recognized for his service in Delaware, working diligently in the energy sector and cultivating then-Connectiv’s efforts to expand in the state. But he was also devoted to working in the community to shape the next generation as leaders, including serving as the leader of The Vision Coalition of Delaware, the Delaware Workforce Development Board, the Junior Achievement of Delaware and many more.
The state chamber’s highest honor is named in memory of the late Josiah Marvel, who reorganized the state chamber and served as its first president in 1913. It has been awarded every year since 1951.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce honored Stockbridge at its annual dinner on Jan. 29, where scores of business, government and nonprofit leaders gathered at the Chase Center on the Riverfront to network and look toward the future.
Since the Marvel cup presentation is the marquee event of the annual dinner, it’s often kept top secret until the event. But Stockbridge, who retired at the end of 2021, splits his time between Lewes and Florida. The Marvel Cup Nominating Committee worked with Stockbridge’s wife to invent an excuse to come to the dinner this year. But since the couple was in the middle of relocating, it became clear there would not be a way to get there without arousing Gary Stockbridge’s suspicion.
“Once they realized that there was no way I would make it, Mark Stellini came down to our house in Lewes for dinner with us and my family where he told us. I was blown away,” Stockbridge told the Delaware Business Times. “For years, I had been going to these events, and I saw many recipients of the cup. There’s no way in the world I would have said I would be in the same league as those guys.”
Instead, Stockbridge’s son and daughter accepted the Marvel Cup on his behalf.
“I really did feel like this award motivated me, when I was a young executive,” Stockbridge added. “Not to win, but recognizing the great leaders we have here that were so involved in the community.”
A Philadelphian, Stockbridge graduated from Drexel University and embarked on a career in the energy sector. He found his niche in retail activity and moved to Delaware in 1997 to work with then-Connectiv. A series of mergers brought him to Delmarva Power in 1997, leading the charge on selling power and natural gas to customers in the northeast. In his 40 year career, about 25 of them were in Delaware.
Stockbridge was named vice president of customer care and remained in that position until 2005 when he was named president of Delmarva Power. During his time, he worked to protect electricity infrastructure and to boost reliability in the state – but also setting a culture of community service by example.
Over the years, he served in leadership roles on the Delaware Workforce Development Board, Delaware Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR); United Way of Delaware board; the Vision Coalition of Delaware board chair; Junior Achievement of Delaware board; and on the advisory boards of the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay and Kingswood Community Center.
Among many past achievements, Stockbridge has named his time at Kingswood and the Delaware Workforce Development Board. The former showed him first hand the impact of community centers in Wilmington, the later demonstrated the impact that job attainment means to people in the state.
He also served on the Delaware Business Roundtable, one of the state’s most influential business groups.
Stockbridge also was heavily involved in the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, including joining the Board of Governors in 2005 and the Board of Directors nine years later. One of his milestone achievements include starting the Joint Military Affairs Committee at the chamber, creating a bridge between the state and New Castle County chambers as well as Delaware National Guard to better serve the military community.
“All my life, I’ve been blessed with working with good people at my company, people in the military, government officials and nonprofits,” Stockbridge said. “Everything I’ve tried to do during my tenure was to be socially oriented. I don’t think of this as a personal award, it’s more about the people that have worked with me as a team.”
If anything else, Stockbridge hopes that the Marvel Cup continues to inspire the next generation of business leaders to become involved in their communities.
“It’s not just about running a business. You have to take the skills you’ve learned running a business and help solve some problems,” he said. “I hope some young executives that were there get that motivation as well.”